Posted by Kim Leonard
Baseball is the American pastime, right? Absolutely! However “buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks” gets a little tricky for fans of the sport with severe food allergies. Merely entering a ballpark can be toying with fate- even if you don’t buy a bag of peanuts, the dust from previously cracked shells can have settled into the spaces between the seats or your section-mates might get into a peanut shell throwing fight mid-game and lob nutty shrapnel in your direction.
I’m a baseball fan and I also have food allergies so hearing the latest promotion the Fresno Grizzlies, Fresno triple-A Giants team, had up their sleeve warmed my little anaphylactic-shocked heart- Peanut-Free and Allergy Awareness Night. It might not seem like a big deal to anyone who hasn’t had any experience with food allergies but this is huge- let me explain a little bit.
My allergy isn’t to nuts, it’s to shellfish. It hasn’t restricted my level of baseball fandom, but I understand what a terrifying obstacle a food allergy can present. I’ve had to be rushed to emergency over a poorly ventilated teppan-yaki restaurant. I’ve turned down opportunities to travel because I live in fear of accidental contamination in places that are seafood-heavy- I considered coming home alive from a trip to New Orleans a huge success. (I survived on beignets and cafe au lait…shhhh.) Worst of all, my husband has given up on the dream of ever enjoying a bread bowl of clam chowder again for fear of causing me to have a reaction- now that’s true love! When you have a food allergy your guard is always up. I’ll leave the office if I notice a coworker is eating shrimp for lunch and am very careful about touching shared surfaces for the next day or so. No one wants to have to use their epi-pen. Every time they expire unused you can do a little victory dance at not nearly dying, again.
Luckily, shellfish is easy *enough* to avoid. Peanuts are invasive though. They’re everywhere, they show up in everything, are a much harder bullet to dodge and for the most part, people aren’t really aware that the snack they’re enjoying could be deadly to someone around them.
So back to baseball. Peanut-Free Night is particularly cool because they’re not just restricting sales of peanut products, they’re doing a deep cleaning of the entire park. Service Master, the company you call out for a fire, flood or other disaster, are scouring the whole shebang and have been working for five days to eliminate all peanut dust and residue. In addition to all of the prep-work for peanut-free environment, Baz Allergy, Asthma & Sinus Center will be checking for contaminants along the concourse through Air Flow Tests to keep fans safe for the entirety of the game. That’s a lot of work and expense for just one night, which is what impresses me the most. Thanks, Fresno Grizzlies for making this event a priority so that fans with severe food allergies have a chance to enjoy a night at the ballpark.
Peanut Free and Allergy Awareness Night will take place Tuesday, July 29th. First pitch is at 7:05.
This isn’t the only brilliant promotion they have coming up, check it out: